Southern Cross Opens Silicon Valley Office

Southern Cross Venture Partners of Australia has opened an office in Palo Alto, California.



Southern Cross Venture Partners, a leading Australian venture capital firm, today announced the establishment of its Palo Alto office, marking its footprint in the heart of Silicon Valley. The Sydney-based firm, which closed its US$150 million (AUD$170m) fund in mid-2007, will work with top tier U.S. venture funds to help Australia and New Zealand's world-class startups access the U.S. and global markets for growth, follow-on funding and exit.


“Australia and New Zealand have a long history of world-class technology development capabilities stemming from their high-quality universities, world-class scientists and engineers, supportive government R&D grant programs and innovative entrepreneurial populations. But the region has been under-resourced when it has come to investment capital and commercial access to the U.S. and global markets,” said Southern Cross Venture Partners co-founder and Managing Director John Scull. “We are excited to open our Palo Alto office to help connect the best early-stage Australian and New Zealand startups with Silicon Valley's vibrant ecosystem.”


Southern Cross has already made investments in four Australia-originated companies: Xerocoat, a specialty coatings startup; Mantara, which creates electronic trading systems for hedge funds; M&MD, with sophisticated high-temperature super-conducting filters for the global wireless market; and UIactive, a mobile social messaging company. The firm's investment targets include startups in the areas of software and hardware, telecom, semiconductors, digital media and Internet applications, advanced materials, nanotechnology and clean tech.


Scull, who had a 20-year operational and entrepreneurial career with leading-edge technology companies in the Valley prior to becoming a venture capitalist seven years ago, leads the Southern Cross Venture Partners Silicon Valley operations. He co-founded the firm with Australia-based Managing Director Bob Christiansen. Previously, Christiansen was a managing partner of the Australian venture capital firm Allen & Buckeridge, where Scull served as its U.S.-based venture partner.


Newly joining the Palo Alto operations of Southern Cross Venture Partners as a managing director is veteran serial Australian entrepreneur Dr. Larry Marshall, who in a career spanning almost 20 years, has founded six successful companies in Australia and the U.S. and earned a reputation as a leading expert in the photonics field.


“In an increasingly global economy, venture capitalists are looking beyond their immediate regions to make investments. While China and India pose a booming opportunity, one cannot afford to ignore the vast pool of technological talent Down Under,” added Southern Cross Managing Director Larry Marshall. “We at Southern Cross want to be considered the go-to firm for U.S. venture capitalists and companies when they are considering an Australia or New Zealand technology startup company for investment or partnership.”


Joining Christiansen in the Sydney office are Managing Directors Bill Bartee and Gareth Dando. Bartee came to Southern Cross Venture Partners after helping launch several successful Australian startups and helping build and lead the early-stage investing for Macquarie Technology Ventures, an arm of The Macquarie Group